The first time I heard it, I was on board. Almost 25 years ago I received a flyer for an event where the Church would meet on Sunday morning and then instead of worshipping; they would travel all over the community serving people. Once their activities were complete everyone would return to the building for lunch with a time of testimony and prayer. It was a challenge to the Church to “leave the building” and “be the Church.”
With every great idea, over time it gets watered down, changed and perverted. Now I hear this phrase used almost every week. I see it on social media, read it on blogs, and listen to it in lessons. Most of the occasions in which I hear it or read it the hair stands up on the back of my neck, and I feel nothing but anger.
First, YOU are not the Church. To clarify, let me give you the definition of the Church. The Church is a gathering of believers who are committed to living for Jesus. The Church is a group of people called Christians. You alone in the world are not the Church. Now, you can live in a Christlike way as an individual, but that is not the Church. Anytime you say “I” or “you” are trying to be the Church, by definition you are wrong.
Second, most of the time I hear people say it, it is an excuse not to be a part of a Church. Quite often it is a justification for attending kid’s events, going to the game with friends, sleeping in or whatever else occupies our time. I have even heard it used smugly, as in “I will be with a group of unbelievers on Sunday morning because I am trying to be the Church.” Please, please do not justify your lack of connection to the people of faith by saying you are trying to follow Jesus.
Third, when Christians gather, it is the Church by definition and by action. Somewhere along the line people started to believe that what happens on Sunday morning is meaningless. That is simply not true. When believers gather there is time for fellowship, prayer, interaction in the word, communion and singing praises to God. According to Acts 2:42 that is what the Church did in the beginning as led by the Holy Spirit. Though the years I have witnessed people change their lives as they came together in the worship and service of the Lord.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I firmly believe the people who call themselves by the name of Christ must allow their faith to affect them wherever they live every day. I want people to be Christ to the people around them.
My frustration is that we have entirely lost sight of the Biblical view of Church have replaced it with a cultural perspective that no longer pushes us toward greater faith. Please stop saying you are trying to be the Church when you mean that you want to do what comes naturally to you without a community around you. For us to be the Church, we need to be connected to other believers and serving the Lord together, anything less is not what God intended, no matter how you label it.